The site of One Spadina Crescent – that’s the building in the middle of an intersection on our southwest corner of U of T – has been through quite a lot to get to where it is now. Originally, it was Knox College, way back before they were a part of U of T, and then a military hospital (where Amelia Earhart worked for some time!). It’s been a pharmaceutical factory, an eye bank (where Eyeball, the annual Visual Studies art show is rumoured to get its name from) and it has survived several demolishment threats – some wanted it to be a park, some wanted another highway to cut through it, can you imagine? Almost 140 years later, it is now home to the John. H. Daniels Faculty of Landscape, Architecture, & Design – and me.
So enough about the history/urbanism lecture, what is the hype about?? I’m here to give you a little self-guided tour I took – I may or may not have snuck into restricted areas for you all.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two sides: the existing building on the south and the new addition on the north, both conveniently a minute’s walk to streetcar stops for lazy people like myself. The other thing is that construction still sort of hasn’t been 100% completed…
Once you enter through the main doors on to the ground floor you’ll find the registrar’s office on the right, lockers throughout the left that were actually made with the help of some of our own architecture undergrads, student exhibitions, our beloved café 059, an open concept lounge-type of place we’ve been calling “the street”, the library, and a bunch of other offices and services. The second floor is where you’ll find all the undergrads’ in their studio space at all hours of the day and night. The third floor is restricted to the masters students. Both undergraduates and graduate students have this one big open side with a view down Spadina Avenue. Oh, and the basement has a cool woodshop, metal-shop, and other machines and materials I’m really not too sure about. The roof of course will be a green roof. The blend of exposed materials, wood, and touch of yellow really add to the warmth of the place while keeping things open and flexible.
Being an architecture student, what I find truly amazing about our campus is its ability to mix the old with the new. This new work of architecture is doing that and so much more. It’s rehabilitating, reinventing, and reconnecting U of T’s southwest end to the city, while respectfully integrating a gothic heritage structure into the subtle contemporary work. These little connecting moments within the building are my absolute favourite. Check it out for yourself!
Until next time!